Friday 17 November 2017

Turtles All The Way Down Review

Turtles All The Way Down Review John green books blogger reading fiction OCD

Anyone who knows me well knows that I have a borderline obsession with Hank and John Green. Not only are they YouTube pioneers but also have made my psychology and philosophy a level a whole lot easier with their crash course channel. Vlog brothers are hands down one of my favourite YouTube channels. They are both hilarious and so easy to watch.

John Green is probably best known for his last book 'The fault in our stars' a modern day classic that took the world by storm. That was six years ago. His next book has been long awaited. The success of the fault in our stars was a lot to live up to. I can only imagine the pressure on John to write the next best seller. 

Earlier in the year when John made a video about his OCD, I was pleasantly surprised. I was obviously saddened to hear about this battle with a crippling mental illness. But I also pleased he was using his incredibly large platform to raise awareness of such an important subject. When I found out that the main character in John's new book 'Turtles all the way down' also suffered from OCD, I was incredibly hopeful that obsessive-compulsive disorder would be portrayed accurately.

'16-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there's a hundred thousand dollar reward at stake and her best and most fearless friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickets son, Davis' 

' Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student and even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts' 

In essence, this book is a mystery, YA novel with a sprinkling of mental health. There is a lot to unpack in this one, so I'm going to break it down. 

PLOT 6/10 

I have to be honest I'm not the biggest fan of the plot. It's not something I would have chosen. In my opinion, it's a bit far-fetched and out of touch with reality. It's not awful by any stretch of the means, it's just not something I would have gone with. I think there would have been better more realistic scenarios to set the story within. I don't want to spoil it for those who've not read it yet, but the money thing didn't really make sense to me. In short, I wasn't overly keen on the plot, and the ending didn't do much for me either.

Turtles All The Way Down Review john green books blogger reading YA fiction OCD


There are some fascinating characters in this book. My favourite is, of course, Aza. I do feel an emotional connection with her mainly because we both suffer from OCD. I resonate a lot with her descriptions of her thought spirals, something which is very close to my heart. I'll get on to the coverage of OCD in the book later on. Davis, the son of the fugitive billionaire, didn't really make an impression on me. However, the character I liked the least has to be Daisy. I found Daisy to be irritating and highly insensitive to Aza's needs. 

THEMES 9.5/10 

The central theme in Turtles all the way down is OCD and anxiety. As an OCD sufferer, I feel very qualified to comment on the accurateness of the portrayal of OCD in the novel. In my eyes, the descriptions of OCD were incredibly accurate, due to John knowing first hand what suffering with this debilitating illness is like. The reason I think OCD was covered so well in this story is that the primary focus was on the intrusive thoughts. The media often forgets to discuss the obsessions of someone with OCD only focusing on the outward measurable compulsions which are usually extreme and make for sensationalist headlines. 

John doesn't do that which I think is very important to note. The only thing I wish is that they didn't focus just on contamination OCD. The disorder can take shape in many different ways that don't always centre around hygiene. That being said, the compulsions weren't traditional like compulsive handwashing which is almost simultaneous with most media's portrayal of the illness. Overall I was incredibly impressed by how OCD was dealt with. It shined a light on the devastating impact the disorder has on every aspect of your life including friendships and relationships. 


If you have read any of John's books before you will know he has a very distinct style. A profoundly philosophical and descriptive tone that gets the old togs turning. There is no shortage of philosophical quotes and paragraphs in Turtles all the way down. Although I would argue slightly unnecessary and overdone at times, his style is one of a kind and truly unique. Although heavy going at times, mostly thoroughly enjoyable. 


I mainly wanted to read this book because I knew OCD would be covered. I was very happy with how OCD was dealt with, and I'm pleased to see John using his influence to raise awareness of a highly misunderstood illness. Although the plot wasn't my favourite, Turtles all the way down made for delightful reading. I would recommend this book if you want to learn more about OCD in a fictional sense. 

Have you read Turtles all the way down? What were your thoughts, let me know in the comments down below! 

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Thanks for reading, as always X

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